Women 'occupy' men's restrooms in China

Feb. 23, 2012 at 2:27 PM
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GUANGZHOU, China, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Young Chinese women "occupied" men's public restrooms in the city of Guangzhou to promote gender equality and more women's toilets, the women said.

"We gathered here not to forcibly stop men from using their toilet, but to arouse consciousness on gender equality in both women and men," said Li Maizi, a female university student and leader of the activists.

The activists gathered outside a men's public restroom in Yuexiu Park, a local landmark in Guangzhou, Xinhua reported Thursday.

"Our final appeal is to influence state legislation in order to create a reasonable ratio for male and female public toilet space by providing more toilets for women," Li said

They held a banner that said "more convenience for women, more gender equality" and took turns spending three minutes "occupying" the restroom to prevent men from using it, spending two hours at the site in total.

Li said passersby -- both men and women -- applauded their effort.

"A few of the men who were stopped outside the 'occupied' toilet expressed a severe need for the toilet. However, most of them acknowledged the campaign after we explained it to them," said Wei Yibin, the campaign's only male volunteer.

Li said follow-up protests will be held simultaneously in the cities of Shenzhen and Beijing on Feb. 26.

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